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There is a big Arab population, some French and some not, and a not that large sub-Saharan African population.

Many of the people in these groups have roots in - or links to - countries which are mostly Muslim, and a number of them are indeed Muslim (but, by far, not all).

I hate the subtle move from "Arab" to "Muslim" to describe these groups, especially in France. It is absurd, for instance, to describe Rachida Dati as a "Muslim" as all English-language newspapers do when writing about her.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 07:00:01 AM EST

The numbers for French "Muslims" are almost identical to those for Christian Americans when asked if they see themselves as Christian first or americans first.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 07:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome's comments highlight the very great differences between French and other approaches to ethnic integration.  

At the heart of "Anglo-Saxon" (for want of a better term) scepticism about this is a fundamental belief that Islam and western European democracy have incompatible political philosophies.  Whilst still a relatively small minority in France, this sceptical approach argues, Islamic immigrants will "toe the French line" and accept the dominant French value system - much like "Uncle Tom's" did in the old days in the US.  However once they come close to attaining real political power they will revert to a fundamentalist Islamic belief system and seek to overthrow the dominant "French" elite.

All of this is so much theoretical mumbo jumbo Jerome might well say.  But there is a real belief growing (not just in fringe racist circles) in Anglo Saxon countries that they are the victims of a covert Islam conspiracy to take over their societies by deception and stealth (as they evidence from Koranic quotations) and that their liberal institutions will be undermined by Islamic ones.

There is a huge backlash against Islamic communities in Anglo Saxon countries - one which may soon rival the anti-Semitism of old.  France may have found the answer as to how to head this off.  The Anglo Saxons just aren't buying it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 07:42:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be mumbo-jumbo... but maybe it's not.

The facts seem to be there to support "Anglo-Saxon skepticism". Christian (actually, non Muslim) communities in secular Turkey have been all but wiped out. Egyptian Copts are dwindling. In Iraq, they're almost all gone. In Iran - closing in on zero. On the other hand, the Muslim community in Europe is growing.

It seems reasonable to assume that the value systems between the European and Muslim governed nations are not the same? What you're implying is that the value system driving Muslim governed nations is set by the government for the people. So if you take the people away from their government and put them in sophisticated Europe, you'll no longer have a problem with the different values. The Anglo-Saxon analysis, on the other hand, is that the value system observed in Muslim nations is a result of their society's religious beliefs - ie. individual values that drive national values. So, if you transplant individuals from Mecca to Dollis Hill near London, you're eventually going to have a problem with conflicting value systems.

Finally, remember that wherever significant Muslim minorities cohabitated with another religion, war and separation ensued: India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus.

So why should Europe be an exception?

by vladimir on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 08:28:54 AM EST
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Well in India/Pakistan and Cyprus, the fact that British colonialism played one community against the other, surely contributed to the outcomes? I note Turkey enthusiastically ethnically cleansed Alexandretta of (muslim) Arabs, and has killed (moslem) Kurds in the past 20 years in shocking numbers.  

The Christian exodus out of Iraq was precipitated by the acts of a Very Christian Nation. In the Levant Christian communities are doing well enough, while you forgot to mention Albania where nationality trumps religious differences (and in fact the Albanians are the least religious people in the Balkans it seems). Also, in Turkey the secular Christian communities were less wiped out because of their religion and more because of their ethnicity (in fact the population exchanges of 1923 made sure there were but a few Moslems in Greece and but a few Orthodox Christians in Turkey - sometimes despite the fact that the exchangees didn't know a word of the language of the country they were being sent to).

But, as far as nationalist/religious dumbwittery is concerned, over here in EU Greece we may not have had any wars lately, but Serbs are a model of secular humanism and national moderation compared to a large percentage of my compatriots who (for example), just this month, were polled as opposing acceptance of any name for our northern neighbor that contains the term Macedonia or any derivatives, something like 70-30, and where the Church of Greece is very political and very bloody rich - thus influencing politics, society and policy to an extent, I'd bet, that poor Patriarch Pavle never dreamed of. So "enshrining cultural heritage above realpolitik" is not new and its not foreign to the EU - heck we own the franchise...!

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 09:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a difference between Greece and Serbia however. A goodly number of Greeks may have heavy nationalist sympathies, but there are different forms of leadership in place. Sentiment does not rule over action, especially when you consider that Greeks are expert at presenting a double-face to the international community. How does a country that is seemingly anti-American support a government that does everything it can not to fall out favor with Americans? How does a pro-Serb government allow American military weaponry to use Saloniki as a port of entry for a military battle with Serbs?

Are Greeks schizophrenic?

The bit about Turkey and Christians I will have to disagree with since Greeks were not the only ones displaced from Turkey at the time. Armenians, Assyrians and other Christians were also removed, and the statements of the Young Turks between 1915 and 1921 openly targeted Christians rather than referring to them as ethnic groups.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 12th, 2007 at 11:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How well are Christians doing in Albania lately? How well did the Jewish population do in Albania during the second World War?


Finally, remember that wherever significant Muslim minorities cohabitated with another religion, war and separation ensued: India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus.

Oh really. How well did Christians do in Africa & South & North America?

Honestly. You're putting a lot of incontrovertible historic events to the wayside to uphold a very wobbly and paranoid idea of Islam evilness. I'm not saying there are no problems with immigrants from Muslim countries, but to pin it all on one over-arching religion, without differentiation, globally oriented historic background, and cultural contexts? Rather unconvincing.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Wed Dec 12th, 2007 at 07:07:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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